From past and future projects

Color Code Your Guests’ Wine Glasses

It happens at every party: guests mingle, put down their drinks and later are not sure which glass was theirs. So they go and get a new beverage. There is a simple and whimsical way to avoid this. Color coded drink markers. For cocktails just use different stirrers, beer glasses can be personalized with adhesives. Wine glasses on the other hand deserve more style. Their stems downright call for some fancy adornments.

Surprisingly, while there is a decent selection of wineglass markers available on the internet, they are quite elusive at most stores. However they can be a quick and easy DIY project. Make them for your next party or as a host/ess gift or stocking stuffer come Christmas time.

I’ve been making this beaded model in numerous variations. Thanks to its wire base it attaches to the glass by a simple twist. Follow the step-by-step instructions to copy it or use it as inspiration for your own creation.

You will need thin pliable wire and for each marker beads from within the same color family in different sizes. In addition I used the same clear beads and silver sequins for all color variations.

Thin wire and different beads are all you need for this project.Recommended tools are rounded pliers and sturdy scissors for cutting the wire. Cat optional.

Start by cutting off two lengths of wire, 18 – 20 cm each. Thread a small bead on each, folding back the end of the wire, about 1 cm.

Thread beads in the same sequence on both wires, about 2 – 3 cm.

Join the wires and continue with a sequin, a large bead and another sequin.

Continue with the two wires together.

Maintain the joined wires and create a pattern with small and medium sized beads for about 8 –  9 cm. Finish with another large bead between two sequins.

Creating a pattern along the double wire.

Separate the wires and repeat the design of the opposite end.

Trim the excess wire to about 1 cm and bend it around the last small bead.

This is the tricky part: tuck the remaining wire into the preceding beads.

Pull the wire as tight as possible.

Voilà. Your first marker is done.

Approved by Galileo.

Repeat with different colors.

A complete set of six markers

Enjoy this playful little project which can be completed in a small amount of time.

Thanks for stopping by. As always your comments and feedback are appreciated. And don’t forget to follow me on facebook or bloglovin’.

 

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10 Ideas for Your Last Minute Advent Calendar

Advent calendars are a tradition every child in Germany and many other European countries grows up with. To shorten – and sweeten – the sheer endless wait before Christmas, they receive a small gift every day from December 1st to 24th.

The classic version is a flat box featuring a Christmas scene with 24 perforated numbered windows, each of which hides a piece of chocolate or candy. You can find a huge variety of these in supermarkets and chocolate stores.

An example for the more traditional version of the Advent calendar. Seen at Wayfair

 

More and more people all over the world have embraced the idea, its appeal has broadened to kids of all ages, different gifts have joined the conventional sweets. As for the calendar itself: the sky – and your imagination – is the limit. More complex creations can become a family tradition in their own right, year after year they take center stage holding new surprises every Holiday season.

Simplicity on the other hand doesn’t mean you have to forego charm or originality. In case you got interested here are 10 ideas for last minute projects. For most of them the materials you need are likely right at your fingertips or an inkjet printout away.

ONE – Graphic Black and White Folding Cards

A printer and scissors are all you need for this eye catching and quick project with folding cards. Due to the format vouchers, quotes or other gifts on paper are indicated. The background can be anything, a picture frame as seen here, a piece of fabric, your fridge or just the bare wall. Alternatively you can combine the graphics as tags or stickers with other ideas.

A printer and scissors are all you need for this stylish and quick project. The background can be anything, a picture frame as seen here, a piece of fabric, your fridge or just the bare wall
The graphic black and white designs of these folding cards are true eye catchers. Free printables here

 

TWO – Cloth pin Calendar

Paint wooden cloth pins red and white and/or decorate with washi tape. Attach to cardboard or wooden board. Add numbers. Hang a wrapped gift from each pin.

Cloth pins secure the offerings of this calendar. Seen here
THREE – A Medley of Gifts Suspended from a Rough Stick

Maybe you own a stick of wood picked up during a walk in the countryside or trimmed off a tree in your garden. If not, substitute  with a length of pipe or an unused curtain rod. Wrap the gifts in differently sized and shaped packages, number them and hang from the stick. Adhere to one color scheme, this will create a pleasing visual effect.

A cheerful medley of packages suspended from a stick of wood. Found here.
A cheerful medley of packages suspended from a stick of wood. Found here.

 

FOUR –  From Matchbox to Gift Box

Wrap the sleeves of matchboxes with paper or fabric, fasten number tags with a string or thin ribbon, use a mason jar to corral all boxes.

A mason jar holds 24 tiny gifts hidden inside decorated matchboxes.
A mason jar holds 24 tiny gifts hidden inside decorated matchboxes. Link

 

FIVE – May I Borrow Your Muffin Tin?

A mini muffin tin has 24 openings, making it a perfect base for an advent calendar. Insert small gifts into the holes and cover with felt or cardboard.

After Christmas this muffin tin turned Advent calendar can go right back into your kitchen. Instructions here.
After Christmas this muffin tin turned Advent calendar can go right back into your kitchen. Instructions here.

 

SIX – Upcycle Toilet Paper Rolls

Toilet paper rolls can be easily transformed into pillow boxes. Decorated with washi tape, string and number stickers they are perfect containers for your gifts.

This pillow box calendar was created using toilet paper rolls. Details here.
This pillow box calendar was created using toilet paper rolls. Details here.

 

SEVEN –  Brown Paper Bags on a String

These unadorned bags are simple yet surprisingly sophisticated. Of course you can always add a touch of color (see above).

simple brown paper bags for a minimalist look. Seen here.
Simple brown paper bags for a minimalist look. Seen here.

 

EIGHT –  Make a Gift Chain

Attach all your gifts to form a chain. Obviously the numbers will have to be in sequence from the bottom up. Use the same colors in different patterns throughout and tie with the same string or ribbon top to bottom.

String up all your Advent gifts in a chain, as seen here.
String up all your Advent gifts in a chain, as seen here.
NINE – Hang Fabric Pouches from a Ladder

Sew red and white fabric pouches, add numbers and tie them on a wooden ladder. Don’t have a ladder? Suspend them from a banister or a curtain rod.

Red and white fabric pouches are tied to a wooden ladder. Found here.

 

TEN – A Shabby Chic Advent

A wire coat hanger and gift boxes and bags in white and natural colors give this calendar shabby chic appeal.

An array of receptacles compose this calendar. Found here.
An array of receptacles compose this calendar. Found here.

 

Now that you have plenty of inspiration as to what your Advent calendar should look like, you still need to decide what  goes inside all those boxes and bags.

Vouchers are a great idea, for example breakfast in bed, candle light dinner, household chores, massage, restaurant, movies, ….

Inspirational quotes

For the special person in your life: 24 x “I love you, because ….”

Taylor your gifts for people with specific hobbies: recipes for a cooking enthusiast, plant seeds for the friend with a green thumb, ….

For kids: activities that can be done together, like baking cookies, reading a story, making X-mas ornaments, playing games, …..

Of course the internet is loaded with ideas, I liked some of these.

I hope I got your creative juices flowing. If you enjoyed reading please feel free to sign up for e-mail notification or follow me on facebook.

I wish you all a wonderful and relaxing Advent.

 

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Transforming Simple Glass Jars into Charming Candle Holders

When purchasing material for a craft or sewing project chances are you buy a little extra – just to be on the safe side. If you are like me, you’re incapable of throwing out these remnants and probably have several boxes filled with leftover fabrics, scraps of ribbons and lace, an assortment of mismatched beads and miscellaneous other odds and ends.

The other day I needed to make candle holders for a table decoration. An excellent opportunity to take stock. I found some glass jars, a length of lace, added raffia and beads, and in no time had produced five pretty little receptacles for tea candles.

It takes surprisingly small amounts of material and little time to transform a humble jar into a charming candle holder. Mixing different materials only adds to the appeal. Burlap with lace, a delicate translucent fabric with raffia …. Add some beads, shells or sea glass for a unique piece. It also makes a great  hostess gift for a garden party – if you can bear to part with it.

 

Some simple glass jars, leftover sewing or crafts materials and some imagination is all you need to create unique candle holders.
Simple glass jars, leftover sewing or crafts materials and some imagination is all you need to create unique candle holders.

 

This was my selection for my table decoration project.
This was the selection for my table decoration project.

 

And here is the final result.
And here is the final result.

 

Mix burlap and lace for a pleasing effect. A narrow ribbon, some beads and dried leaves add an extra touch.
Mix burlap and lace for a pleasing effect. A narrow ribbon, beads and dried leaves add an extra touch.

 

For an especially quick project cut a strip of vellum paper with pinking shears and overlay with a cutout flower ribbon.
An especially quick project: cut a strip of vellum paper with pinking shears and overlay with a cutout flower ribbon.

 

For beach flair incorporate shells or sea glass.
For beach flair incorporate shells or sea glass.

Inspired? I would love to see your creations!

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10 Inventive Ways to Gift Wrap a Bottle

You are invited to a dinner party and don’t want to arrive empty handed – a bottle of wine or another beverage is an obvious choice for a gift. Or perhaps one of your friends is a wine enthusiast and you want to present him with that special bottle for his birthday.

You can a) go with the bag from the store – advertising and all; b) buy a wine bag with a nice print ; or c) get creative and produce a distinctive gift wrap that might well turn into a conversation starter at the get together.

Here are some ideas I found around the web. Some simple, some sophisticated, some whimsical, some a little more challenging to execute – but all of them imaginative and unique.

 

Wrap your offering in burlap for a rustic and charming effect. Instead of a ribbon add some corks tied to a string and an ivy tendril for the finishing touch. Click here for image source.

 

Looking for a gift for somebody who’s graduating? This champagne bottle comes complete with mortar board, gown and diploma! Find the complete tutorial here.

 

This playful bottle bag was the sleeve of a dress shirt in its previous incarnation. A bow tie is the fitting complement. You can find it here or easily make your own.

 

Craft paper, string and a wax seal give this wrapping its individual appeal. I know, most of us don’t own a wax seal, see here how to create an alternative. Or else just substitute with an attractive button.

 

This bag is a gift in itself. It’s as elegant as it is simple. Accolades from your host/ess and fellow guests are guaranteed. You can find it here.

 

Another easy yet fetching alternative: use a tea towel or a scrap of fabric in lieu of wrapping paper, as seen here.

 

A stunning arrangement made from leaves. Almost too beautiful to disassemble. Seen here.
A stunning arrangement made from leaves. Almost too beautiful to disassemble. Seen here.

 

A bottle of champagne disguised as a pineapple with the help of Ferrero Rocher chocolates. Instructions (in German) here.

 

These lovely wine carriers require some basic knowledge in sewing and may be a little more time consuming than most of the previous ideas. But they are definitely worth the effort. You can look up the tutorial here.

 

Recycle your old jeans. Just cut off the legs and turn them into these handsome wine bags. Discovered here.

 

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10 Cool DIY Projects to Update Your Christmas String Lights – and Use Them Year Round

String lights are ubiquitous throughout the Christmas season, only to be stowed away for the rest  of the year. A pity really. They provide a soothing soft light, are inexpensive and with a little imagination can be used in myriad ways, be it as a permanent feature of your home decor or to add a special effect for a party or event or even that romantic moment for two.

Allow yourself to be inspired by the ideas below. The possibilities are endless …

 

Paper flowers attached to a string of Christmas lights add special flair to your garden party. Find instructions here.

 

This quirky shuttlecock garland could make an attractive addition to a youngster’s bedroom. Step-by-step instructions here.

 

A romantic garland composed of string lights, lace and tulle. So easy to make, directions are not really necessary. Click here for image source.

 

Flowers made from recycled egg cartons adorn these string lights and give a simple framed mirror a singular note. Find out here how to make them.

 

I’ve posted these origami balloons before. Choose a paper to match the occasion or the decor, from sophisticated to cheerful. Folding tutorial here.

 

Fill a wire basket with strings of light and hang it overhead for a charming effect indoors or out. Check out details here.

 

Or else use a birdcage to hold fairy light instead of birds. Image source here.

 

This LED headboard requires a little extra handiwork, but the result is quite awesome. Assembly instructions found here.

 

Same idea, more casual approach. Hang a sheer curtain behind your bed, drape fairy lights over the rod and let them spill down between the curtain and the wall. Romance guaranteed. Image source here.

 

Your kids are gonna love it: build a hula hoop tent with string lights for their playroom. Image source here.

Like I said, these are just some inspirations to get your creative juices flowing. Have fun. And feel free to send me your comments or feedback.

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Home for the Holidays

As I come from a northern country the Holiday Season for me is synonymous with winter, freezing temperatures and early dusk. Drinking hot wine while at the same time warming your hands on the cup at a romantic Christmas market with snow falling quietly around you. Choosing and bringing home a real tree that fills the house with that unmistakable pine smell that cannot be reproduced from a spray can. Inviting friends for a tree trimming party followed by fondue and red wine in a cozy candle lit atmosphere. And, if you are lucky, waking up on Christmas morning to a white winter wonderland outside your window.

After all these years living in Brazil I still haven’t got used to a tropical Christmas. It doesn’t help that seasonal decoration and shop displays try hard to evoke that traditional northern feel. Santa sweating in his red suit as he arrives on a sleigh under a palm tree, artificial snowmen sitting in the sun at 30°C, “icicles” suspended from lush green trees.

Most years I forego the Christmas decoration at our house all together –  I admit it, sometimes I simply forget. However when I decide to add some Holiday cheer I deliberately eschew the more classical approach. Below are some creative and eye catching suggestions, most are easy to make and won’t break the bank.

As for my own decor for the upcoming Holidays – I’m still sitting on the fence ….

 

A wonderful idea for a “tree”. The base is driftwood or sticks gathered during a walk in the woods. Add string lights and your favorite ornaments and – voilá – your guests can arrive. (1)

 

Oranges spiked with cloves make an attractive centerpiece and their pleasant scent creates a Holiday mood and repels insects at the same time. (2)

 

More decorating with oranges: slice oranges, let dry, string them up with bay leaves and cinnamon sticks and enjoy your fragrant and charming ornament. (3)

 

A whimsical take on a Christmas wreath with colorful cocktail umbrellas.(4)

 

Or how about a popcorn wreath? Just glue popcorn to a Styrofoam wreath base and add a bow.(5)

 

These ribbon trees can be produced in a matter of minutes and cost next to nothing. Make them part of your table setting and if you like offer them as presents to your guests as they are leaving. (6)

 

Felt and bead ornaments are a variation of the trees above. (7)

 

Pebbles, miniature zinc buckets and string lights come together in a pleasing contemporary arrangement. (8)

 

Update your string lights with origami balloons. Complete instructions here (9).

For image sources please click on the number below each picture.

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Windows of Opportunity (2)

A few weeks ago I posted some charming ideas about giving a second chance to those multipaned windows often discarded during renovation. I have a weakness for mirrors, I find it intriguing how they open new perspectives in an otherwise restricted space. That’s why the mirror window on a garden wall caught my attention. Here it is again:

 

One of my next projects is to install a mirror window on our garden wall. (9)
Mirror window on a garden wall by Three Dogs in a Garden

The entrance to our house is a narrow walled passage, a place that definitely can benefit from a little extra perspective. I figured this would be the perfect spot to recreate this concept. Here it is – alas at the moment it is still a fairly poor imitation of the original …

The mirror window in our front garden
The mirror window in our front garden

The rain season is bound to start soon, and I hope the plants will grow in nicely then (and maybe our cat will even stop destroying the orchids as she keeps climbing up the tree ….). So I thought it might be interesting to post a picture every six months or so to keep track on how things are changing. Stay tuned.

Windows of Opportunity

Multi paned windows are a signature feature of the Portuguese colonial architecture in Brazil, they are also common in traditional farmhouses in the US and many European countries. Often they get replaced during renovation and can be picked up for a song at salvage yards.

They can be repurposed in a great number of ways, adding a touch of shabby chic to a home  – here are just a few inspirations. Hope this gets your creative juices flowing.

One of the old window s of our home is now hanging in my home office - the upper part became a photo gallery, the lower part pin board with cork panels and a center magetic section
One of the old windows of our house is now hanging in my home office – the upper part became a photo gallery, the lower part message board with cork panels on both sides and a center magnetic section. Hooks across the bottom accommodate an ever changing array of items. (1)

 

This window turned mirror sits atop a book case
This mirror perches atop a book case. It was previously used as a “window” in our windowless New York bathroom. (2)

Below are some ideas from around the web:

Here a number of different size frames was grouped together to create a gallery wall.
Here a number of different size frames was grouped together to create a gallery wall. (3)

 

This frame was outfitted with chicken wire. Wooden cloth pins hold photographs.
This frame was outfitted with chicken wire. Wooden cloth pins hold photographs. (4)

 

An eye-catching floral design was painted on the glass of this window. At first glance it appears to be scroll iron work. A shelf across the bottom adds functionality. (5)

 

This beautiful frame with much of its original hardware is an artwork in itself. Some neutral toned flower garlands enhance its romantic flair. (6)

 

Backdrop for a flower box – a new take on window box. You could add mirrors to double the impact of the greenery. (7)

 

Here the panes were replaced with chalkboard. I like how the partitions in the upper half were removed to provide a larger space for notes. (8)

 

One of my next projects is to install a mirror window on our garden wall. (9)
This mirror window instantly opens a new dimension in the garden. One of my next projects is to install one on our own garden wall. (9)

Image sources:  personal archive (1) (2),  2ndessence.com (3),  milkhousemarket.com (4),  DIY ShowOff  (5),  Shabbyfufu (6),  Ruff by Margo (7),  le petit Yaka moderne (8), Three Dogs in a Garden (9)

 

Thanks for visiting. I look forward to hearing from you. Just click on the post title to leave a comment.

 

 

Hooked!

There is no such a thing as too many hooks around the house. Kitchen, bathroom, bedroom –  you name it – they all can profit from an extra place to hang your stuff. While there are countless options you can find in stores, here are some creative ideas for making your very own, some of them with little or no cost and a minimal investment of time.

 

These zero-cost hooks look especially nice when grouped together. (1)

 

Salvaged wood planks in different hues make an eye catching backdrop for these rustic metal hooks. (2)

 

These delicate white hooks “expanded” with a stencil on the wall. (3)

 

Driftwood and mismatched knobs to showcase your necklaces. (4)

 

How cool is that? Flea market silverware finds turned into key holders.(5)

 

Add instant coastal flair with these seashell upgrades
Add instant coastal flair with these easy seashell upgrades.(6)

 

This retired rake looks good both in and outside the garden shed. (7)

 

Industrial slip hooks mounted on a wooden plank.(8)

 

 image sources: Ruby Roost (1), Beyond the Picket Fence (2), Ariadne at Home (3), Thinking Closet (4), design sponge (5), ciaonewportbeach (6), the Collection (7), wallacefurlong.com (8)

 

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Waxcloth Totes

Waxcloth is part of my childhood memories: a succession of  brightly patterned tablecloths covered our kitchen table, where I not only ate all my meals, but also spent countless afternoons  struggling with my homework ….

Thanks to modern printing techniques today’s version of the material comes in an incredible variety of photorealistic prints and vibrant  colors.

While some of the patterns may be a little too overwhelming for a tablecloth in your minimalist designer kitchen, they are great when used on a smaller scale and in unexpected contexts.

One of my favorite waxcloth projects are tote bags – besides being cheerful they are sturdy, water resistant and easy  to clean. My version has two zippered pockets and a magnetic snap closure and is lined with colorful cotton fabric. I’ve made quite a number of them over the years, here are some of the more recent  ones.

Stripes
Stripes

 

Coffee, croissants and the morning paper ...
Coffee, croissants and the morning paper …

 

Strawberries
Strawberries

 

fruit tote bag 2
Fruits galore

 

More stripes
More stripes

 

Did I mention they are colorful?
Did I mention they are colorful?

Photographed on the grounds of beautiful Pousada do Capão, São Gonçalo do Rio das Pedras, Serro, MG. For more info on the inn go to www.pousadacapao.com

If you’re lucky you may still find some of these bags at their store Secos e Molhados.

 

Stay tuned for more waxcloth projects.

 

As always, your comments are appreciated!

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